AWD #320: The Linten Incident
The Linten Incident
Summary: The Linten Recon hits a snag.
Date: 07/05/2016 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: Got a Cigarette?, Stellar Cartography-Shepherds
Rourke Skyler Ygraine 
Across the Red Line
Woooooooooooo spooky
Tue Nov 22 2005 (AWD #320)

The top secret mission means that the Raptor crew jumps back and forth to the stellar cartography ships every few days in order to collect reports and check on operations. They aren't military ships, either. They're owned by CIDSR, which means they're technically government funded - to an extent. But the Raptor is told to jump out to locations to scout before the pair of CIDSR ships jump in to begin mapping, which takes three to four days with shifts operating 24 hours a day. Sometimes longer. This time there seems to some frustration at the command level with something happening on the crew, but everyone is tight-lipped. It's a tense situation because at this point they are seven full-sized jumps from Piraeus. The closest help is the Linten Recon Group and they're two jumps out and only then do they know the general area of where Linten is supposed to be.

They've directed Skyler to fly with the Raptor and leave the command bridge. The implication is that if she doesn't go then she might be removed. Given she's military, their options are to go back to Orion and report what's happening or go ahead and do the mission and then report it. Given that the small task force has been in one place for several days, behind enemy lines, it's starting to get vital they move, though. When the Raptor finally departs the Pulse High, the ship's radio confirms they are cleared outbound to jump to the next coordinates which are expected to be clear of dangerous objects. Like asteroids. Or planets. Or Raiders.

At least Skyler's been keeping her cool since the Captain of the Pulse High decided he didn't want the assigned military liaison aboard. There may have been a series of choice words once she was on the Raptor, but the woman clearly isn't pleased. Then again, when you report to the TACCO and head of Intel, would you be pleased when an external party fraks up your mission? Maybe it was the service pistol that she insisted on having on hand. Or maybe just a civilian's discomfort at having a spook hovering over their shoulder. The woman, at least, changed into a flight suit and has taken the co-pilot's seat after stowing her cane (at least she's downgraded from the crutches) in the rear of the Raptor. Being a former Raptor pilot herself, it means she's not useless in the spot. Just in a foul mood.

"Welcome aboard, Fox." Rourke offers to Skyler after learning that she'd been assigned to the Raptor team. A chance to fly is a chance to fly and get away from everything for a bit. A desk jockey's life has never been in his cards, and never will be if he can help it. Settling into the pilot's seat, there's a thermos of coffee and a pack of gum along with the sketchpad that the pilot usually travels with. Once they're up and cleared from Pulse High, the bus driver settles his hands at the controls and listens to the traffic before glancing over towards the co-pilot's seat and Skyler. "Hope you brought a good book. Don't have an inflight movie, and the conversation is usually pretty terrible." he comments before ranging about to glance back at Ygraine. "Not Milkshake's fault, o'course. Once we have coordinates and permission, let's go see what empty spot they have us checking out today."

Ygraine has basically been doing her job. There isn't much to contribute really, other than her services. She scans what she needs to scan, and is rather relieved that she can leave the question of AARs to poor Shaft. Seated at her console, she lets out a little snort. "Speak for y'self, Shaft. I got amazin' conversatin'." A smile is flashed Skyler's way as she turns her attention to the jump dive.

The coordinates are passed by the radio operator before he signs off, wishing the luck. Just as he does there's the sound of someone in the distance arguing at a raised voice. Click. That's it. It didn't end prematurely, but the radio operator was simply finished. They are approaching the jump, point, though, and indeed the space ahead seems more of the same: black and empty against a starscape.

While being in a Raptor without being pilot eats at Skyler in its own ways, it is nice to hear her call sign. In the CIC, it's just 'Lieutenant Almaeda.' The woman lacks a traditional form of entertainment. Nope, all she has is a clipboard. A much more slimmed down version of the one she often carries about on the Orion. At the moment, there's a folder with the rear half secured by the clip so that she can open it. There's a quiet snort from Skyler at Rourke's words and a glance behind her at Ygraine. Shrug. "I'm no stranger to long, quiet flights. I assure you." The uppercrust Virgon of her accent has been tempered by her time with the Fleet, but it's still deeply ingrained in her speech. There is a frown angled towards the radio. The arguing. Skyler's hand twitches in the direction of the radio, but then they jump. Someone really, really wishes she was on that frakkin' bridge still.

"Didn't say it was on you, Shake. I just don't know if I can survive another round of twenty questions." Rourke teases back as Ygraine prepares to make the jump drives spool to life. "But if you have anything new you want to talk about, I'm all ears." Except shopping. Oh lords and ladies, not shopping. As the arguing commences for a moment in the background, Shaft considers. "Sounds like they miss you, Fox." Commented with a shrug, he turns his attention back to control. "Ready to jump on your mark, Milkshake."

<FS3> Ygraine rolls Ecm: Failure.

"Gotcha." This is routine for Ygraine. She runs a console like velvet under normal circumstances and she lets her fingers dance across the board in familiar choreography. Literally the microsecond after her finger releases pressure on the button that triggers the jump drive, she catches a flash of red in the corner of her eye. "No, wait - !" But it's too late.

The flash around the canopy looks a little different. The warning wasn't about the system, it was a delayed warning about the direction. The flash is supposed to be blue. It redshifts. NOT. GOOD. As the Raptor comes out the other side of the jump, the Raptor skids to to starboard side and goes into a 6G tumble. The gravity system hasn't had a chance to catch up yet, but once they do, they can already tell they aren't where they were supposed to be. Not even close. All around them is a white and blue glow of light, dotted with black masses. It's impossible to make out in the front of the ship because of the spin, everything just rolls past them in a huge blur, but the black dots and masses seem focused in one direction.

<FS3> Ygraine rolls Ecm: Failure.
<FS3> Rourke rolls Piloting: Great Success.

"Yeah, well, they'll really miss me once the Colonel hears about this." Because the 'worst case scenario' contingency is now frakked. But hey, worst case scenarios aren't supposed to happen if you plan appropriately. Right? Riiiiight? No, shopping is not brought up. All the things that make a shopping trip good are gone now. Skyler leans back, scraping a fingernail against the edge of the folder balanced in her lap. She has just enough time to register Milkshake's sudden protest before the jump happens. Somehow, she manages to keep hold of her clipboard when the Raptor rolls, hand reaching out to grab at whatever she can to her opposite side to brace herself. And her leg? Oh, someone didn't have time to get the brace on over the flight suit. So the reflex to brace with legs also, well. That's gonna hurt later. Her therapy advisor in Medical won't be happy. If she makes it back there.

"Fraaaak!" Rourke's instrument panel lights up with collision warnings and master cautions. "We're in a spin!" he calls out. "Fox, give me full thrust!" His hands are locked into the stick, fighting to bring the tumbling Raptor under control as his feet press down and work the pedals hard to reverse against the thrust he orders to full to bring the craft back under control. He feels out the craft as it shudders and complains at the abuse, and finally, "Come on baby, come on baby, now! Cut the thrust, Fox!" With the co-pilot cutting thrust, he brings the stick and pedals forward, firing a last burst of engines and stabalizes the craft. He's rattled, clearly so. At least the Raptor is stopped. "Where the hades are we?" he mutters, trying to get a read on the panels. "Milkshake?"

Ygraine rocks to and fro with the craft, and despite being strapped down, she has to pause to grip the edges of the console from being whiplashed. "I'm tryin', I'm tryin'…" Ygraine works frantically at the panel. "I can't get a fix - there's somethin' out there. I need another few seconds…"

When they finally get settled and the view isn't an ugly blur, they're facing what has to be a nebula. Or at least they seem like they might be inside one. Huge columns of gasses in gorgeous pastels are birthing stars in every direction. No wonder they red-shifted, the focused cores of gasses would generate that. But the guidance computer should have compensated. It didn't for some reason. THAT belongs to Deck. But the view outside is spectacular. This is the sort of location that was never meant for the eyes of mere mortals. It would seem they are in a palace of the Gods. Everything here seems so peaceful and beautiful.

<FS3> Rourke rolls Awareness: Success.
FS3> Skyler rolls Awareness: Failure.
<FS3> Ygraine rolls Awareness: Success.

There are certain instincts that work, regardless. Despite the searing pain in her leg, Skyler is able to still function at the controls of the bird. Her hands move over the controls for the thrust as soon as Shaft mentions it. It does give her something to focus on beyond the spin of things outside. The clipboard does fall between her seat and the side of the cockpit, but at least it's out of the way. When the ship finally calms, she leans back, takes a deep breath, and reaches for the clipboard… somewhat blindly. Pretty colors out there.

"Thank you, Fox.." Rourke starts to say, now that he's not fighting to bring the Raptor back under control of it's unstable spin. His hands work the controls as he glances back towards Ygraine. "..anything yet?" he starts to ask, before his eyes adjust finally to the bright light that floods the cockpit, and he breathes softly. "Lords and Ladies above.." the pilot manages as he lets out a slow breath. Reaching up, he takes out a small medal from underneath his flightsuit and gives it a small kiss. "..we're not dead, are we?" It seems to be the most obvious question to ask at the moment, considering what they just came into view of.

She's sitting profile, and likely no one can see it, but Ygraine's face goes distant for a moment, like she's seeing something that isn't there. A sudden shudder goes through her body, and for a moment her smile is beatific. She throws it off with a little shake, and refocuses her attention. "We're approximately forty-five miles off of mark and - wait a minute." Another few moments of fingers tapping keys. "If we'd jumped on target we woulda landed right in the middle of a Cylon fleet." Her tone is awed.

"Uh-huh." Skyler finally gets herself set right, but she's in a bit of pain. Distracted. When Milkshake speaks up, she leans 'round. "Well. That's good."

Snapped out of his awe of the moment, the pilot blinks owlishly at Ygraine before he gives a shake of his head. "Can they see us, Milkshake?" Rourke asks. He knows a golden opportunity when he sees one. "Let's see if we can get some recon in." he offers, glancing to Skyler. "Able to join the ECO to take a gander at what she found?" he asks, before turning his attention back to the piloting. He remembers seeing dots somewhere in all of this bright, and he wants to make sure they're not colliding with anything.

"Not yet, but if I do a full sensor sweep, they will." Ygraine replies. "Readin' six basestars and…twenty…thirty Raider squadrons. I'm rebootin' th'jump drive." And Milkshake sets to doing exactly that.

As the Raptor turns back towards the masses and dots in the distant it becomes clear what he was seeing. It's the Cylon fleet. The black blobs, even at the spread of 30-50 miles are visible against the bright light of the nebula. The squadrons would be impossible to see, but they are out there. But about now it probably settles in… They were supposed to jump from a specific set of coordinates. They jumped from those. According to the Captain of the CIDSR ships, they were supposed to scout an empty section of space. But the correct coordinates are only 45 miles away and in the middle of a Cylon fleet. The odds of that being an accident are astronomical. The fact that something glitched and dropped them outside the fleet and into a safe position like this? Impossible.

Then there's a flash as something else jumps in. Then another. Right at the coordinates they were supposed to jump to.

"Colonial signatures, the Pennibaker and the Saloo. I'm receiving distress calls," Ygraine's voice rises in pitch. "They're firing on the Cylons, they weren't expecting to wind up in the middle of the enemy fleet…those coordinates…" Ygraine's tone darkens. "Someone made a mistake. Someone made a big godsdamned mistake."

"I'll see what I can bring up here." Because there's just a bit of concern that maybe moving about the cabin at the moment won't go well for her. Sans brace, cane, and with how much that jump hurt her leg? If things go sideways again, Skyler would be in trouble. "In my experience, some ECOs aren't a fan of having someone hover over their shoulder." This, mumbled to Shaft. So she'll see wha the co-pilot's sensors can pick up. If anything. More like nothing of use. The woman leans in the seat, looking out into the distance. At those flashes. "So, as of this moment, I don't want anything relayed to the Pulse High without going through me. Shaft, you're still PIC for the mission itself, obviously, but for any intel, I want it passed through me before going anywhere outside of the CoC in the fleet." Ygraine's reports on the radio confirm, in part, what the woman was fearing. "I don't think it was a mistake. We just recently found out there may be a leak or a straight-up traitor somewhere. I think it may be on the Pulse High itself, or someone in contact with her."

There's a momentary thought, before Rourke shakes his head. "Get the FTL spooled, but we're not jumping just yet." he comments as he flips on the gun cameras to start recording. "Glad you're not on that bridge now, Fox." he admits. He couldn't make heads or tails out of what is coming in, but he does know the tell-tale signs of jump engines. He keeps DRADIS off, relying more on the cameras for now as he frowns towards Ygraine's report. "No frak." comes the agreement as he listens to the grim reports. There's no way they can provide any assistance to the two ships - they're damned in the heart of Aphrodite. With Skyler speaking up, he feels his blood run cold for a moment. "..so. They give us bad coordinates. Stick you with us, Fox.." he leans back a little in his seat. "Someone really doesn't like you."

In the distance they can see the battle start. Well, it isn't much of a battle. The two ships are Corvettes and are sub-capital class. A little smaller than a flak frigate. The flashes can be seen where their guns impact the basestars but seem to do nothing. On the passive sensors they can see the basestars spool up their own targeting systems and begin firing missiles. But it isn't a barrage. The goal quickly becomes obvious. After only a minute or so the transponders and dradis systems on both the Corvettes cease functioning. They're dead in the water. The Cylons didn't lure anyone out here to kill them. No, they are playing conservative and disabling. And there's that stomach-icing moment when it becomes very clear what's happening…

…The Cylons want prisoners. They want the jump computers. It's the same reason that ECO's can never ever be taken alive. They have knowledge of a very specific location.

"Yes, well, I was sent in there with orders to kill anyone who is a threat to the fleet." Hence the sidearm. Not just for show. And when those ships go dead on the radar, Skyler leans forward and puts her face in her hands. "That's why they wanted me off the ship. See, those were my orders. To make sure no one with knowledge of Piraeus' location survived if something like this happened." They can only hope the civilians follow such 'orders,' but in their case it's often more of a request. A suggestion.

Rourke frowns as he can only watch the basestars toy with capturing the two ships. "And now we may be witnessing the worst case scenario. Milkshake, can you pull up their radio frequencies? We need to know what the situation is.. if they're captured.." he lets that just hang in the air for now, as he watches the countdown on the FTL reboot.

"Th'only people on board those corvettes with the coordinates are the navigators and any ECOs on board." Ygraine says quietly. "And all navigators and ECOs have standing orders t'avoid capture at all costs." And she imagines a lot of guns going to temples right now. If even one of them disobeys, the fleet is frakked. "I can try passive reception but I ain't riskin' an active scan. They'd squash us like an ant under a boot."

All those guns against temples. If even one… The Captains of the Pennibaker and Saloo must have been thinking the same thing. With the gun cameras zoomed in, all three can watch it happen on their screens. The armored missile hatches on the tops of each ship slide back and longer white missiles pop out before turning and firing their engines towards the other Corvette. Every single active gun turret on the ships cease firing on the Cylons and turn slowly. They lumber around and come on target towards each other. It's assisted suicide. In those last moments, the Captains in those two CIC's must have had to debate about apologizing to their crews. Those moments stretch, though, as the ships begin tearing each other apart. The guns nearly do the job, but those missiles surge right in. The point defenses don't even bother trying to engage them. The gun cameras on the screen wash white and the glows in the distance tell the tale of more than a dozen tactical nuclear detonations.

The radiological alarm buzzes gently in the silence of the moment.

"It's your call, but I think we need to go home. Not to the Pulse High. Let them think we made it to the destination. Whoever is behind this, our only hope is to let them think we were captured or killed." Skyler rubs her face, sitting upright and looking at the tiny blinks in the distance. "If it's Fleet ships out there, they'll follow orders. But if any civilian vessels show up, we should consider ourselves compromised." Her words do fade off as the two ships turn fire on each other. She repeats, again, voice quiet. Numbed. "We have to let them think we made the correct jump."

"Agreed." Rourke's voice falters as the two ships take each other out. "Milkshake, set jump patterns for Orion. Fox, I think we should quell the AAR for now. And I suggest we ask permission to land planetside. If anyone from Orion is working with Pulse High, they'll try to kill us before we can make our report." he offers, turning to Skyler to see what she thinks of the plan of action.

"May th'Lords of Kobol see ya safely on th'boat." whispers Ygraine, and then she fires up the drive. The coordinates are not for Orion straight-away, but rather a midway point. In case someone's scanning them, she doesn't want those coordinates revealed.

"Again, your call, El-Tee, but I highly disagree. Pulse High is a civilian ship, with CIDSR." Which is based on Piraeus. "The Orion is likely the safest place to go. Any report should be routed to Intel and Command only. Like I said, we just recently became aware of a leak, but we know it didn't come from the Orion." Skyler is already flipping to a clear page and scribbling some notes. Really, for Intel, her terrible handwriting is probably a benefit. By the time anyone could puzzle out a word or two over her shoulder, she'd likely notice them.

"Alright, Fox, I'll go with your gut. Back to Orion it is." Rourke isn't part of the intrigue and espionage set. Skyler is, he's going to defer to her at this point. "You still want me to handle the AAR, or is this one your baby now?" he asks as he keeps his eyes on the controls unless they end up jumping to some other crazy place.

The jumpdrive goes off without a hitch. Even before the order is officially given, she has sent the Raptor to an in-between location that they can pause at to determine their final destination. Ygraine turns, starts to ask about destination, and then nods. Hang onto your hats kids, it's time for another jump.

"My reports are of a different vein. Do yours, but route it directly to Intel and Command. If they think it's acceptable for your COs in the Wing to see, they can forward it on and blame it on me." Skyler sounds tired. And maybe a touch cranky. Mostly her leg is unhappy. Multiple jumps are a smart thing. Helps them keep an eye on anyone who might have traced and followed. The woman is mid-facerub when they jump again. This is going to be a fun meeting.

"Copy that. What a colossal frak-up." Rourke says as he rides out the wave of another jump. "Give us a couple of more to be on the safe side, Shake." he comments, and closes his eyes for a moment.

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